Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!



Sci-Fi Authors and Scientists Predict an Optimistic Future

RJFerret Wow, that is fiction. (191 comments)

"If the government has to decide what to fund and what not to fund, they are going to get their ideas and decisions mostly from science fiction rather than what's being published in technical papers."

Shouldn't that read...

"If the government has to decide what to fund and what not to fund, they are going to get their ideas and decisions mostly from the Bible rather than anything remotely reasonable."

We need the populace to elect different folks before the dream of the former would be true.

4 days ago

Ask Slashdot: What To Do After Digitizing VHS Tapes?

RJFerret Re:Final Cut Pro library (267 comments)

Nah, sell your homemade porn tapes in a tag sale. No need to digitize and restore them yourself. Someone else will get off doing that, post the results online, and soon they'll be replicated not just "in the cloud", but redundantly all over the world. It won't matter, you'll never know as you'll never desire to watch them anyway. You might earn a couple bucks at the tag sale though. Use it to buy vibrator batteries.

4 days ago

Ask Slashdot: What Old Technology Can't You Give Up?

RJFerret Incandescent light bulbs (635 comments)

Incandescent light bulbs that generate decent heat, so the plumbing lines running through the back stairwell don't freeze in winter.

Snaps. (I wish there were snaps on my cellphone case, since the velcro has worn out after 13 years.)

Hook and eye closures, because, bras.

Birth control, although newer forms that eliminate monthly periods are pure win.

PS: Anything that can be used one-handed where newer replacements require two, the aforementioned snaps instead of buttons, flip cellphone with keys that can even be used without viewing, etc.

about three weeks ago

Slashdot Asks: Cheap But Reasonable Telescopes for Kids?

RJFerret Re:Binoculars again, digital camera (187 comments)

Why would you presume his child relations are incapable? I was disparaging the suggestion that thousands of dollars of photographic equipment (when the original request was for low budget options) was a priority to obtain data, rather than a smaller investment so the children in his family could share their adventures and explore a potential hobby, rather than be denied the opportunity because thousands of dollars of expensive single purpose equipment are involved.

If a small investment induces a desire in a child to pursue more, that will become clear, and the question will change. Fostering curiosity has nothing to do with "dumb" or "science", it's about growing, exploring, perhaps about birds and airplanes instead of stars, but inexpensive child appropriate tools are more useful to begin with, an individual, child or otherwise, will request better tools if there is sufficient interest.

When the kids lose interest, a digital camera can be re-purposed readily.

PS: Giving a child a microscope ... "unless you help her do actual scientific experiments, she's going to miss most of the value". I disagree entirely, but it depends what you value. You obviously care about data--but we don't know what types of children are in his family. I'd give a child a microscope so she could grow, foster curiosity, witness beauty, discover, expand her horizons, and develop into a more well rounded person. These things work regardless of the type of personality, if she's more an artistic mind, salt is beautiful under a scope, if more about data, there's the online citizen science project to count tumor cells affected by medications. But these things are discovered from the broad exposure, not one specific application afflicted upon the children.

about a month ago

Slashdot Asks: Cheap But Reasonable Telescopes for Kids?

RJFerret Re:Binoculars again, digital camera (187 comments)

Did you miss, "...for kids", relatives who are elementary/middle school age? Not trying to do science here or collect "data", trying to introduce/interest them in...oh don't seem to remember being six to 13 years old.

But thankfully you don't need any of the equipment you listed. A couple hundred dollar digital camera with good lens and manual exposure control is plenty. It's good enough for Wikipedia, it'll be good enough for kids to throw online to show their friends lunar craters and comet tails and whatnot.

You also don't need the "right conditions" thankfully, I'm sandwiched between two cities and full of light pollution, but layering multiple exposures and image processing resolves all of that, and provides a practical application of image processing other than fake media model imagery for kids to learn about (which my nieces were taught about around eight years old).

about a month ago

Slashdot Asks: Cheap But Reasonable Telescopes for Kids?

RJFerret Binoculars again, digital camera (187 comments)

I second, or third or seventeenth the binoculars recommendation. Great for celestial observations, birding, plane spotting, live theater, sight seeing, etc. No set up, control in hands of user, each may have their own instead of taking turns, etc.

Note you don't need a scope for good astrophotography, there are pictures on Wikipedia I've taken just with a manual digital camera with good lens (and cheap tripod). Long exposure settings and proper image processing (combining multiple exposures to minimize background noise) provide incredible results.

about a month ago

Ask Slashdot: Would You Pay For Websites Without Trolls?

RJFerret I want disagreement. (382 comments)

I go to forums for other viewpoints, not what is already in my head, I have that, why would I waste my time?

"Troll" used to mean someone who cared more about provoking emotional reactions regardless of opinion, not "disagrees". Someone trolling would, even if they agree, post in a manner to incite a reaction in their victim.

It seems most are defining "troll" as just someone else with a differing opinion, IE, most of the population. What is worth paying for, is someone who has information I don't have yet, or an opinion that leads to a new insight that was previously lacking: constructive dialog.

However most people participate in forums purely to stroke their own ego and feel better about themselves (the same reason they pursue most activities), not to actually engage with others.

about a month ago

Slashdot Asks: Should Schooling Be Year-Round?

RJFerret Learn more during summer (421 comments)

I learned far more during the months off in summer than I did in school. Don't get me wrong, learning to touch type in school was valuable.

But I learned how to be a productive member of society working summers. I learned how to be an individual person at summer camp--arguably my moment of self actualization. Trips with families exposed me (back when this existed) to different societies/cultures--as well as that humans are all essentially the same ego pursuers.

If some venue taught me how to balance a checkbook and do taxes, and how to write formal correspondence, my education would be more complete than average. None of those things (save the correspondence and touch typing) happened in school.

Both my parents were educators. My father also a school psychologist part time. When I proposed to him the premise that folks need to learn on the job, that school and higher education were more for delaying folks entrance to the work force, he basically agreed. Obviously there are certain careers that require higher education, but often the knowledge base of those positions has changed by the time one graduates and you have to learn on the job anyway.

Schools tend to have artificial social environments that it's good to escape from to round out personal development.

Besides, what's the point of becoming an underpaid teacher if you don't get summers off?

about a month ago

Idiot Leaves Driver's Seat In Self-Driving Infiniti, On the Highway

RJFerret Re:Huh? (406 comments)

If you consider progress marrying the horse that takes you home?

about a month and a half ago

Ask Slashdot: What Would You Do With Half a Rack of Server Space?

RJFerret Re:mine bitcoin? (208 comments)

bitcoin, mine!

about 2 months ago

The Least They Could Do: Amazon Charges 1 Cent To Meet French Free Shipping Ban

RJFerret Re:So instead of "free" why don't they say "covere (309 comments)

Marketing: because "free" and "new" are the two strongest advertising buzz words that drive sales. It doesn't matter that it truly isn't free, rather buried in the cost of the item, consumers are attracted to products that include "free" or "new" somewhere and are more likely to buy.

This is also why "new version" or "new features" or "new colors" or "new enhnacements" are often pitched despite the product being the same old thing with the same old functionality with the same old annoyances.

about 2 months ago

Slashdot Asks: Do You Want a Smart Watch?

RJFerret Yes please. (381 comments)

If it could replace the need to carry a phone around with me, or have one clipped to my belt, or have a bag to carry it in, etc. It's far nicer to have nothing extra to carry, than to carry around an item.

It would need a replaceable power source that holds a long enough charge so years from now when the battery doesn't have full capacity, it lasts all day and into the night.

It would be nice to have a scalable sized display, perhaps projected if not holographic (there goes that power).

Google Now functionality required, so connectivity, location awareness and microphone please.

Instead of being a watch, be the band, so whatever watch face could be used. Come in a size/style that suits womens watches.

It doesn't need to have a speaker, that could be a separate Bluetooth earring like IBM had 15 years ago, so the entire world doesn't hear/be disturbed, and I don't look like a borg.

One of those virtual keyboard systems that can tell what your fingers are typing in midair from your wrist movements. Acceptable to have a complementary bluetooth bracelet for the other wrist to make this work.

In the future, I'd like a private neural display, so I'd be a 'borg, with an amazing firewall so I don't get mental adverts. At this point we'd hopefully be able to eliminate the secondary bracelet for typing and just think "OK Google".

about 2 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Replacing Paper With Tablets For Design Meetings?

RJFerret What problem are you trying to solve? (143 comments)

our firm is looking to get away from using paper during our design meetings


What problem are you trying to solve? Without understanding the problem, nobody can provide pros/cons or cost/benefit of alternatives, much less come up with a solution to...?

Once you actually identify the problem, the solution might become self-evident. But just listing your ideas and seeing if others have implemented things similar to your ideas won't resolve the circumstance.

(Meanwhile, perhaps quit and find a job outside of the design field, a field where identifying and clearly communicating problems is key to coming up with designs to resolve said problems. My guess is sales might be a better fit, given the suggestion of throwing hardware at people being a benefit, for no apparent reason.)

about 3 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Correlation Between Text Editor and Programming Language?

RJFerret ED, ARexx (359 comments)

Where does that fit in your Analyze! spreadsheet?

about 3 months ago

Federal Judge Rules US No-fly List Violates Constitution

RJFerret Re:That took long enough (276 comments)

Hear, hear! As totalitarian countries go, the US is slow to act...oh wait, perhaps if this ruling isn't challenged, ends up having some impact, and surveillance is ameliorated, the US won't carry the "totalitarian" adjective any longer.

about 3 months ago

Scientists Successfully Grow Full Head of Hair On Bald Man

RJFerret Poor guy (109 comments)

Welcome to the world of man-scaping. But hey, at least you have eyebrows to waggle at the ladies now.

about 3 months ago

Ask Slashdot: How To Bequeath Sensitive Information?

RJFerret Not necessary (208 comments)

I'm surprised only one other person pointed out almost none of that info is needed. Banks, courts, insurance, attorneys, brokers, all of them have procedures which negate passwords/PINS/all that info the executor of the estate typically doesn't know.

What you do want is to get way more copies of the death certificate than you imagine you'll ever need. The death certificate and the institution's forms will gain you legal access to everything. Accessing them improperly could lead to trouble.

(A list with passwords should be outdated in a matter of weeks when passwords are changed anyway, account numbers when accounts are closed/moved, etc. It's just quicker/easier to use the institutions process and doesn't ruffle any feathers.)

about 3 months ago

EU, South Korea Collaborate On Superfast 5G Standards

RJFerret Re:a THOUSAND times faster than 4G? (78 comments)

It's lingual, "could be 1000 times faster" includes every portion thereof. Heck, "could be 1000x faster" includes 2000x faster too.

Gotta' watch those conditional possibilities. ;-)

about 3 months ago

EU, South Korea Collaborate On Superfast 5G Standards

RJFerret Re:a THOUSAND times faster than 4G? (78 comments)

I believe the "could be" part, if it's just 10% faster s/he's right.

And an attempt by 2020 means more like 2026, and the US will have an incompatible slower version around 2030.

Jaded, I am.

about 3 months ago



Service data mining photos shared online for brands.

RJFerret RJFerret writes  |  about 6 months ago

RJFerret (1279530) writes "The company Ditto is pitching its service to data mine brands displayed in photos shared on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumbler, providing data on "who is using or wearing a brand and how influential they are within their network", where they use certain brands compared to competitors, and promises to reveal "an interest-graph for each person, and for the network of people who use your product. This interest-graph informs how to target and engage the most influential users of your product." Additionally, "social photos are like a 24/7 focus group. We found that Gatorade wasn’t just consumed during exercise, but by teens during meals." Singularity Hub indicates they are also using "emotion recognition algorithms to report what the people in the photograph are most likely feeling."

It makes me glad my various social spheres share discretely via Google+, does awareness of these types of activities alter your inclination to share or display brand items publicly?"

Link to Original Source

Zeus "Ray Gun" Strikes Down Unexploded Ord

RJFerret RJFerret writes  |  more than 5 years ago

RJFerret (1279530) writes "As reported in The Economist, mounted in the back of a Humvee is a "directed-energy weapon" (laser gun to the rest of us) to allow detonating unexploded ordnance from 300 meters away, in lieu of using rocket propelled grenades or exposing troops to sniper fire. More science-fiction becoming reality in one "undisclosed theater of war"."

Google's Lively going to be lifeless

RJFerret RJFerret writes  |  more than 5 years ago

RJFerret (1279530) writes "Half a year of Google's Lively was enough. They have announced in their blog that they are pulling the virtual plug come end of December (they encourage taking screenshots and videos to capture users' hard work). This news despite Slashdot's recent coverage of an interview suggesting plans to open Lively to developers and a future roadmap, our previous comments were only so favorable after we talked about the launch. So apparently bringing 3D environments into a browser is not as marketable as they hoped? Or is this also a sign that environments such as Second Life might have limited application despite their continuing growth? Or might they be turning their attention to core business as the blog post declares, or possibly planning Google Life instead?"

Tennis balls are faster than our brains...

RJFerret RJFerret writes  |  more than 5 years ago

RJFerret (1279530) writes "As reported in BBC News Health from an article in Current Biology (pay for article), tennis line judges are foiled by their brain's perception, calling in balls "out" incorrectly more often. In studying video of 4000 random calls, of 83 incorrect, 70 of those were called out. Is it "gaming" umpires brains to exploit this perceptual bias via technological challenge systems if players use them more when balls are called "out"?"


RJFerret has no journal entries.

Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>